Work From Home: Work From Home Training

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

And the series continues. I guess because I have A Lot Of Thoughts on this.

Me, I’ve worked from home (WFH) a lot, and I’ve had friends who have done it for over a decade. We’ve got certain work from home skills and abilities, that we probably don’t see as we’re used to them. I realized that recently, and it came to me that as we do more WFH people will need training to do it – and people probably aren’t ready.

How many of us actually are skilled at working from home? Because, in a world where WFH is comparatively rare, it means some of us lack the skillset – yes it’s a skillset.

Consider what WFH Skills include:

  • Time management on your own. Not as easy when you’re remote.
  • Phone etiquette and phone technology. Look, do we even use our phones for calls? When is it time to just text?
  • Proper use of chat programs as you can’t swing by desks. I’m talking not just sending messages, but replying.
  • Proper use of email as folks need to rely on it more (and trust me, a lot of us are terrible at it).
  • Proper use of tools for collaboration like Jira, Rally, and such. Those are even more vital for collaboration.
  • Use of documentation tools and proper use of documentation. Being able to hand someone a document is great for communication, but not if your writing is horrible.
  • Business processes and the like – because you can’t yell over your cube to ask someone “how do I do this?”
  • The psychology and manners of working from home.

Even typing that list i feel both exhausted and appreciative of those with good work from home skills. I’m sure you could write books on the skills, or run classes. Speaking of . . .

Organizations will need to ensure people are trained for WFH. The skills above need to be acquired by folks for any organization that wants or needs more WFH. These need to be learned intentionally; we’re in a rapid shift, and you can’t just hope people pick it up over time.

Note I say Organizations plural – because even in the post covid age, there will be more WFH for everyone. The business you work for will need this training, sure. But this will also be your church or temple, the con you do cosplay events for, and maybe even your gaming group. Every organization out there needs to be ready to teach people how to work from home.

This also means that there will be a whole new range of opportunities for people to write, teach, and educate. We’ll need guides and consulting services and people to teach work from home. Organizations will need to develop ways to improve WFH processes – or hire people that do. In fact, this might be a great chance for you to share your WFH knowledge with others!

But we’re going to need to train people to WFH, everywhere, and provide that education. This may be a bigger shift than people are ready for – but being ready is something we’ll need to be. WFH is here, there will be more, and in an age of climate change and pandemic, we’ll need to adapt.

It’s time to get educated.

Steven Savage

Career Idea: Training, Certification, And Retention

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr)

In a recent discussion with some people on retaining and training workers, I noted a simple solution to getting people trained and getting them to stay.

“Why not support them in getting certifications?”

My logic is simple

  1. You need to train people.
  2. Training isn’t always fun.
  3. Certifications are seen as valuable to one’s career.
  4. Certifications often require training – and that’s probably more interesting than just some class.
  5. So a company that supports certifications gets people educated, and if those people aren’t big on training, they may like a certification better.
  6. People getting the certification feel valued (and trusted as certifications would make it easier to look for a job).
  7. People will feel confident because in case of a layoff or something they’re still more valuable. It’s insurance.

Imagine a workforce that knows it’s going to get valuable training and certifications? That they’ll have that extra information on their resume or in their job review? Even if a new job may be tempting, why leave a place that recognizes you and helps you improve?

(Besides, the longer you’re there the more loyal you may be.)

I had two companies support me in certifications, and it certainly affected my attitudes towards them – in a postiive way. Someone shelled out the money to get me certified, and both allowed me to get trained on their own time. It’s hard to turn that down, and I stuck with them both untilthe bitter end.

So consider that next time you’re trying to figure out how to get better employee retention, or get people trained, or even boost morale. Guaranteed certifications may be something to ty.

Though I’m still getting my acquaintances to try it out at least they’re listening . . . though maybe you’ll have more luck.

– Steve